Museum X, the organisation that is developing the Black British Museum, is pleased to present the first takeover edition in the history of Museums Journal. We are honoured to feature some of the most dynamic people working in and with our sector.
The content in this issue has been put together by us, the Museum X directors – Sandra Shakespeare, Cheryl Bowen and Tola Dabiri. This edition respectfully presents a range of opinions, comments and features that we hope you, the reader, and the wider public will appreciate.
When we sat down to discuss the long list of potential themes and issues for this edition, we were reminded of the Jamaican national motto: Out of Many: One People.
The context of multiple voices, unity of cultures, and strength through solidarity also speaks of shared British and Pan African connections. Carol Ann Dixon, in her analysis, articulates a “read against the grain” of established museum practices for the development of a Black British Museum.
The re-activation of the Black community, most visibly articulated by the Black Lives Matter movement, has demanded call to action for the museum sector to commit to change.
Samenua Sesher sees hope in radical visionary solutions for what she calls communicators of British history.
In Ghana, Edwina Ashie-Nikoi’s community history project connects traditional memory with 21st-century technology.
We share insights from Red Earth Collective – a grassroots community organisation working with Birmingham Museums and Galleries.
In this issue we unashamedly celebrate the extraordinary Black talent and research in the UK heritage sector, while acknowledging the challenges that we continue to be presented with, yet we overcome.
What the X?, our research study report with Art Fund, details discussions on diversity in the curatorial and heritage sector from the past 10 years. Visit us at Museum X and help create a museum where diverse cultural narratives are experienced in new exciting ways.
Out of many we unite through the power of our stories.
In solidarity, Sandra Shakespeare, Cheryl Bowen and Tola Dabiri, Museum X
Museum X guest editors
Sandra Shakespeare leads a museum, arts and heritage consultancy and is founder of the Black British Museum Project. Consultancy clients include the National Trust, Victoria and Albert Museum, among many others. In 2014, Sandra became a co-founder of Museum Detox – establishing a growing heritage network for People of Colour with more than 600 members in the UK and allies from around the world.
Cheryl Bowen works for Sheffield Museums Trust as the community engagement and participation co-ordinator. She is passionate about social justice and the impact arts can have on people. She is a member of Museum Detox and a mentor for the Tate We Make Change Programme. Over her 10 years in the sector, Cheryl has held posts in the learning departments of the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Dr Tola Dabiri is a director of Museum X and Brick by Brick Communities, and her own consultancy, Tola Dabiri Consulting. A specialist in equality, inclusion and decolonising practice, Tola is also an academic whose research areas are orality, British Caribbean Carnival and the traditional masquerade of Grenada.